Australian police are investigating whether the electronics of a car found in floodwaters failed, trapping it's occupant inside as the water rose.
The 25-year-old's body was discovered in the car by police divers on Wednesday. The vehicle was completely submerged 30 metres from the road.
Detective Inspector Chris Laird says the man had called emergency services at 6:25am and told them his car was "sinking" as he tried to get out.
Half an hour later, contact was lost. His body was discovered later that day.
Police are now investigating why he couldn't escape.
"We can only speculate again that given what I have seen and the damage to the vehicle that it could very well be that the electrics totally failed, and he was simply unable to escape from the car which is an absolute tragedy," Detective Inspector Chris Laird said.
Laird said there is clear evidence he tried to escape the car, and why he couldn't get out will form "part of the investigation".
"You can only just imagine somebody fighting for their life to get out of the car, that's what the inside damage of the car looked like."
The death is the first linked to the wild weather sweeping across Australia. Torrential rain and devastating floods have forced more than 40,000 people to evacuate.
Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of New South Wales warned that water levels would keep rising in some areas as major dams continued to overflow and rivers bulged.
"What we still have to be aware of is the fact that thousands and thousands of people are still on evacuation warnings, that the rivers will continue to swell, that catchments will continue to experience flows of water not seen in 50 years and in some places 100 years," Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
According to The Insurance Council of Australia, about 17,000 damages claims worth around AU$254.2 million (NZ$276.69 million) had been lodged by Wednesday morning across NSW and Queensland.